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Make Sure it Shines: Cleaning up Your Social Presence

November 9th, 2012

Social media sites may have started as a way for college students to keep tabs on each other, but in the last eight years, social media has become an integral part of how we communicate with each other – all of us – from entry level candidates to seasoned professionals. Regardless of where you are at in your career, it is important to stay on top of how your online persona is reflecting your life and lifestyle to potential colleagues and employers.

Social Media as a Screening Tool

You may not even realize it, but companies are scoping out candidates on social media sites. 37 percent of companies polled by CareerBuilder use social media to search for additional information about job candidates, and 11 percent state that while this is not a current practice, it will be implemented in the near future. Only 15 percent of companies polled stated their company policy forbade this method of investigation. If you are seeking a job (and even if you aren’t!), it would greatly behoove you to do everything in your power to present yourself in a positive, professional manner on social media sites.

A candidate’s social media presence can offer an insight into personality and work ethic. For example, if a person complains about work or colleagues on social media outlets, this could indicate potential problems with teamwork and morale.  Or, if someone is consistently posting non-work related information on social media sites during the work day, that person’s commitment, focus and work ethic comes across as seriously lacking. The pieces of information you choose to share are being used to paint a portrait of who you are. If anything you’re posting has the potential to sully that portrait, get that in check as soon as possible.

Take Advantage of Privacy Settings

If you still desire to post details of your life you would not feel comfortable with strangers and your potential employers seeing, use privacy settings and filters to ensure that only close friends or family can access the most personal things on your social media profiles. Remember: public is public. It is the worldwide web–not the web that extends to people who know you well and like you no matter what. So familiarize yourself with the ever-changing privacy policies of various social media networks and customize your settings accordingly, even when you are not looking for a job.

LinkedIn – The Best Professional Social Network

LinkedIn is vital in the business world, even if you are not actively searching for a job. Create a profile, make connections and update it regularly. LinkedIn is one of the strongest websites for job seekers, and you never know when your situation might change or when an offer that is perfect for you can arise. Having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile is the online version of keeping meticulous updates on your resume. However, unlike simply updating your resume, LinkedIn offers a way to create communication with peers and employers.

Social media is important when it comes to how you present yourself to the world. Employers are looking at your online persona when making decisions about hiring you. How does your online presence represent your goals and capabilities? Contact us today to begin searching for companies that will help establish your career path!

Job Assessment Tests: How Important Are they Really?

October 5th, 2012

Many organizations use assessment tests as part of their hiring process. Why is this done? What exactly do the tests assess, and how are they used in the corporate hiring process? These tests come in many forms and allow your potential next employer to determine if you are a match for their organization based on qualified and objective results. On these assessment tests, there is no “right” answer, just a range that the prospective employees need to fall within, a range can vary for different jobs within an organization.  Many companies consider it a valuable tool, helping to insure  poor hiring decisions. Here is a look at the different types of testing you can expect as you interview for new positions.

  • Personality assessments. These assessments help determine if you would work well with the existing team and what kind of office environment you excel in. Many companies will establish a corporate culture benchmark by assessing current (and past) employees to define what types of personalities work best within their organization. Keep in mind that companies are not looking for one right answer when it comes to personality assessments. They want to see if you are likely to blend well with the individuals who are already working there and possess the specific personality traits identified as crucial for job success. The only way to prepare for these assessments is to answer all of the questions honestly.
  • Competency assessments. These evaluations dig a little deeper than the straightforward personality assessments. They are used to measure how a candidate would act in certain situations and what their behavior patterns might be. It may assess your motivation, leadership skills, honesty, and reliability. Most competency tests will ask very similar questions in different ways two or three times throughout. This is to determine how consistent you are in your behavior. Again, there is no way to beat the test, you must simply answer honestly.
  • Cognitive abilities. This test will evaluate the IQ of the candidate such as verbal, numeric, logic and reasoning skills. Cognitive tests are frequently used early in the interview stages to pare down the candidate pool and select the very best of the potential new employees.
  • Skills assessments. Based on the type of role you are interviewing for a staffing firm or prospective employer may conduct an evaluation  to see if you possess specific skills.  They may test your level of proficiency on computer hardware or software or other job related skills needed to be successful. Depending on the category of position you are interviewing for, you will be tested on the skills needed for the right candidate to be successful. If you are an office manager, you might be tested on the latest Microsoft Office Suite. If you are in accounting, you may be tested on specific software or something such as accounts payable or receivable.

While there are ideal test outcomes that recruiters and companies would like to see in each individual case, most companies are realistic in understanding that the testing process is not a perfect way to analyze each candidate. These tests help identify for the company where your potential weaknesses may be, and then allow them to work with you to build your skills. Again, there is really no way to prepare for these evaluations except for keeping your skills current, not exaggerating your skills in certain areas, and being honest with your answers.

Keep in mind that employers are required to use validated testing that does not violate any laws regarding discrimination against hiring. These tests are merely a gauge to better understand you as a candidate and determine if you might be a fit for their organization.

Are you looking for professional and reliable recruiters to help you navigate your job search? CompliStaff offers the best match and the best service to their clients and candidates.

Utilizing Your Alumni Network for Your Career Path

September 21st, 2012

After you received your diploma, did you say goodbye to your university?  Establishing a connection to your university’s alumni association can provide great connections throughout your career.  Most universities have active alumni associations and reconnecting with fellow alumni may be a great way of networking, finding out about job openings, and more!  You can improve your career outlook and develop lifelong connections by tapping into the resources available from your college.  University alumni may be willing to provide career advice, assist you with a job in their organization or even just mentor you.  Here are a few best practices you should follow when tapping into your alumni network.

You should read the alumni newsletter regularly to learn about successful graduates.  You can also volunteer in the alumni office. Every university organizes outreach programs for their graduates.  Becoming involved in this process gives you an advantage.  Volunteer or work at the alumni center and you will have direct access to individuals who may be willing to share their experiences and expertise.  The alumni newsletter often features former students and showcases their accomplishments.  Offer to put these sections together which will give you the opportunity to contact the successful alumni to speak with them.

You can become involved with geographically centered alumni associations.  Many graduates move back home or to various metropolitan areas throughout the country.  Alumni, especially from larger schools, will form associations in their towns to network.  Reach out to those groups and express your interest in their town.  Local alumni can offer advice, suggest other networking avenues, or even companionship.

Contact your university’s career resource center.  This office will usually maintain a database of the alumni willing to mentor students.  You may be able to source specific alumnus who work in your industry, shared a course of study, or live and work in an area of the country that most interests you.  The career center may also sponsor alumni events where former students come to the university to meet with and talk with current students.  Take advantage of every program available to you.

LinkedIn is the best professional internet networking site available.  It is easy to research and join informal groups which can connect you to alumni in your city or in your field.  People using LinkedIn are there to make connections so use that network as much as you can.  LinkedIn is free and well worth the time to set up a complete profile.

You should keep your connections even after you’ve started your first job.  Once you establish these relationships keep them fresh and up to date throughout your career.  Stay involved in the alumni associations and local events.  Reach out to new graduates to mentor as they begin their career.

Are you a recent graduate looking for professional job search advice? Contact the professional recruiters at CompliStaff today!

How to Establish Your Long Term Career Goals

September 12th, 2012

Everyone has goals for their career – but what are you actually doing to reach those goals? Many professionals set their sights on a goal, but lack direction or guidance to achieve it. To avoid this common career pitfall, you should answer a core list of questions to get you started on working towards your goals.

Where are you currently in your career? Examine your career path and where you are at today – this is your starting line towards reaching your goal. Think about your strengths and weaknesses, and consider how they will impact attaining your goal, but more importantly, think about how they can contribute to reaching your goal.

Why are you interested in this goal? Each individual will have a different motivation for aspiring towards this goal – and there is no right or wrong reason. You might have a certain goal because of your interests or financial opportunity it can offer you.  You may even wish to own your own business.  As you work towards a goal, it is important to stay focused, and not be waylaid by career tangents along the way.

What is the most direct path to reach this goal? Now that you have established your starting point and why this goal is important, you need to assess how to attain this goal. What is currently holding you back from your goal? Maybe you need more experience or specialized certification. Maybe you’re in the wrong industry.  If you establish that there are obstacles, figure out how you can overcome them.   Make sure your job choices are steps towards attaining you goal.   As you progress in your career, always keep your goals in mind and continually work towards them.  Try not to settle along the way or you may risk compromising your goal.

When do you see yourself achieving your ultimate goal? You should visualize the “finish line” in reaching your goal.  You may want to reach your goal by a certain date, after a set number of years or any by other threshold.  Maybe you picture the authority, achievement or financial success that attaining your goal could bring you.  Either way, visualizing will help you see your goal progress and helps keep you motivated to achieve your end goal.

How are you doing in working towards this goal? Assessing your progress is vital. Too often, we set goals, start working towards them, and then lose focus and motivation.   Occasionally, take a step back to see where you are in the goal achievement process.  Adjust your strategy as needed.   If needed, ask these questions of yourself again to see re-assess your goals and how you can reach them.

Conquering a goal isn’t always something you must achieve alone. Regardless of your end goal, consider joining a professional association or group. This is a great way to network in the industry, and make valuable connections.  Don’t be intimidated by the your goal or all the steps that may be required to get from the starting line to you goal.  Take it one step at a time and keep you eye on the prize!

Many times you can reach a goal with assistance from your professional connections or a recruiter. Talk to a recruiter in your area to understand your options and determine your best strategy for reaching your career goals. If reaching your goal involves changing jobs, your recruiter can provide valuable resources and insight into available positions. Call the recruiting experts at CompliStaff today to discuss how we can help you achieve your career goals.

Your Resume and Why Buzzwords Matter

August 17th, 2012

There was a time when resume writing was all about the positive buzzwords. Insert catchy phrases that attracted the recruiter or hiring manger’s eyes and you were sure to get a call.  Your resume is the first chance to impress the employer and needs to set you apart.  Be sure to include your main responsibilities and notable successes and tailor your resume for different jobs, as long as you truly have the experience.

A candidate must strike the balance between using buzzwords that appeal to hiring managers (and that are used in job descriptions), while still incorporating unique terms that will set you apart.  Here are a few terms that are prevalent in today’s job market, and how you should use them to stand out.

  • “Proven Track Record.”  The nature of your resume should include the last 10 years (or more) of your professional experience along with your dates of employment. That is your track record.  If there are any explainable gap or job changes, put that on your resume to dispel any obvious questions.  You will also have an opportunity to provide references who can truly paint a picture of your track record, if a recruiter or hiring manager likes your resume enough to call.
  • “Guru” or “Expert.”  More and more industry terms are starting to be integrated into the day-to-day communication in today’s companies. “Guru” and “expert” have both become widely accepted terms that are used by employers and job seekers alike. But simply incorporating “expert” or “guru” into your resume isn’t enough; you need to explain why you are an expert or are knowledgeable in your field.
  • “Problem Solver.”  This is the type of statement that needs to be backed up with examples and that is best left to the interview. Instead, show specific instances in your positions where you resolved an important issue, improved a process, or saved the department money.
  • “Team Player.”  Most positions today involve some degree of team work and collaboration, and companies have come to require it. However, many job seekers miss the mark when they use it on their resumes by not establishing why they are a team player. If you are using “team player” on your resume, be sure to include examples of your leadership and team building experience.
  • “Strong Work Ethic.”  This phrase has been used for many years, but still offers extreme value to hiring managers. All companies wish to employ hard workers who are dedicated to their projects and company; but oftentimes this is a term job seekers leave off their resumes because they think it is assumed. Stating in your resume (or cover letter) that you have a strong work ethic may help you stand out as a hard worker and open a door to an interview.

Looking for a full service recruiter to help you in your job search? Contact the team at CompliStaff today.

How to Stand Out To Hiring Managers

August 10th, 2012

In our highly competitive job market, it is up to each job seeker to show the hiring manager what makes them different and more desirable as a candidate. Setting yourself apart from the rest of the applicant pool is essential, but not difficult. Here are five career boosters you can obtain to impress the hiring managers and improve your skills.

 Join a professional association. Not only will this credential be impressive on your resume, it may open doors to additional opportunities. Professional organizations can be costly, but dues are typically paid once per year. Establish your membership and get involved. This will allow you will expand your network, stay up to date with trends in your field, and further your education which can only help in landing the right job.

Volunteer. In a time when job seekers out number available jobs, it is important to keep your experience current. Volunteering your time and skills for a nonprofit or charity is one way to stay active and give back. It will keep your experience fresh and will show potential employers that you are engaged in your community. It can also become a reference pool and networking opportunity.

Alumni groups. Staying involved with your university can be another networking tool. Managers like to hire individuals who remind them of themselves, so having something  in common like such as the same alma mater is a great way to break the ice. LinkedIn is a fantastic tool to easily connect to other alumni in your area and around the country.

Classes and certifications. Staying current in your field or learning additional skills make you more marketable can help set you apart. If you’re unemployed, spending time improving your skills can help explain what you have been doing while not working. You may also obtain a sought after certification in your field or become an expert in a niche topic.

Speak as an expert. If the opportunity arises, consider public speaking or giving a class. Not only are you positioning yourself as knowledgeable, you are able to share your skills. Start small with a personal blog and intimate gatherings, as this can lead to larger venues and guest blogging roles on major sites.

By following these tips, you will be setting yourself up for success. Would you like to partner with a recruiter who will help you stand out to hiring managers? Contact the recruiters at CompliStaff today!

 

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